About the Winner
This is based on the number of votes received and does not reflect the quality of the business or chances of winning.
In 2003, my cheating ex-wife left me heartbroken, jobless, un-creditworthy, and broke. I was so bad off, both emotionally and financially, that I retreated to my mom's house in Boston, used eBay to sell off some valuable Star Wars toys that were collecting dust in the attic, and managed to bring in $2,000 cash. But this isn't a story about selling toys on eBay.
I used the $2,000 to get back to Los Angeles, open a simple checking account, and re-settle. I slept on my sister's couch for six months.
With few job options at that time, I had no choice but to temp for a well-known magazine company. They treated me nicely there, but there was no opportunity for growth, and I wasn't interested in magazines anyway. On top of that, they paid barely more than minimum wage.
So I decided to start "flipping" silk fabric on eBay. It was a harebrained notion that my ex-wife mentioned right before she asked me for a divorce, and I had not given it much credence, but I realized that I could obtain silk fabric for cheap in the nearby garment district in downtown L.A. and double my money on eBay.
It was a slow process. I had to wait an entire week for just one auction of silk fabric to end, but I was able to double my money just about every time. Since I was able to survive on my wages from the magazine temp job, I would take my silk money and reinvest it by heading back to the garment district, buying more silk, and putting it up for auction on ebay.
I did that that week after week. At first, I was only able to afford a few yards. Then it became 5. Then it became 10. Then it became 20. Then it became 40. You get the idea. Then I started to realize that I could have my own website where I could sell the silk fabrics 24/7, without having to wait for any auctions to end, and without having to pay eBay a hefty commission every time I sold something. I was particularly inspired by an article I read on startupnation's website about a guy who sold swords for a living. I think his company was called "weapons masters.com" My mind started racing when I read that he grossed $1million per year...on swords!
One of the ways I was able to expand my offerings on-line without investing any money was by posting photographs of fabrics I had access to, and could purchase from downtown if necessary, so therefore I did not have to keep them in inventory. I realized that by posting photos of many fabrics on the silk baron.com website, it would send the message that we had a lot of colors to choose from, and that was good PR. In reality, I had nowhere near enough capital to keep all those colors in stock.
Fast-forward to today: whereas years ago I had to purchase silk by the yard in the garment district, I now purchase colors silk directly from several factories in Asia. It used to be I could only purchase a few yards at a time; nowadays, I purchase 25,000 yards at a time...a few times a year! At first, I offered 5 fabrics; now, I offer over 500. No joke. And when I started I had a handful of customers, but now, we've got nearly 8,000 customers that we actively market to, all across the world. Silk Baron grosses 5-figures per month. See? Good things CAN come out of a painful divorce!